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3301.0 - Births, Australia, 2002  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 18/11/2003   
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MEDIA RELEASE

November 18, 2003
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEST)
122/2003

Age of women giving birth now older than ever

In 2002, the median age of all women giving birth was 30.2 years, the highest on record according to figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today. The median age of fathers was 32.5 years.

There were 251,000 births registered in Australia during 2002. This was 4,600 births (1.9%) more than 2001 and the highest since 1997.

The 2002 total fertility rate was 1.75 babies per woman. This rate has been relatively stable since 1998, ranging between 1.73 and 1.76 babies per woman. The Australian total fertility rate remained lower than that of the United States of America (2.1 babies per woman) and New Zealand (2.0), but higher than that of the United Kingdom (1.6), Japan (1.3) and many European countries such as Germany (1.4), Greece (1.3) and Italy (1.2).

Women aged 30-34 years experienced the highest age-specific fertility rate, with 111 babies per 1,000 women, while women aged 25-29 years experienced the second highest (104 babies per 1,000 women).

Fertility of 20-24 year old women has continued to decline. Over the past two decades fertility for this age group has almost halved, from 104 babies per 1,000 women in 1982 to 56 babies in 2002.

Of the states and territories, the Northern Territory recorded the highest total fertility rate (2.28 babies per woman), while the Australian Capital Territory recorded the lowest (1.59).

Victoria recorded the largest increase in births in 2002 (up 2,900 over the number registered in 2001), followed by New South Wales (up 2,000). South Australia, the Australian Capital Territory and Queensland also recorded more births in 2002 than 2001, while there were fewer births in Tasmania, Western Australia and the Northern Territory.

Further details are in Births, Australia, 2002 (cat. no. 3301.0).

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